Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Manohla Dargis mistakes cattiness for critique

On October 14, 2012, the nytimes.com published Manohla Dargis’ “review” of “Atlas Shrugged II - The Strike (2012)”. It was titled “Glories of Capitalism, With Gas at $40 a Gallon”. Her “review” was more a critique, or rather cattiness.

She had to immediately condemn the earlier movie “Atlas Shrugged - Part I (2011)” by calling it a “dystopian fantasy”. Moving on, she said that “you” – but perhaps not she – might have difficulty “parsing who’s doing what and why”. I thought that it was all quite clear, clearer than a lot of movies. She continued by smearing it as “addled” (defined online as “confused”). Once again, I think that it was she who was confused. She then complained that it “was not shown in advance to critics”. Was this a translation for “showing it for free or at a reduced price”? She said the movie opened showing “amusingly torpid... protests”. Why did she think the portrayal was “amusing”? As Ayn Rand would say, “Blank Out!”

Not having enough imagination to figure out “how the infrastructure materialized on a large enough scale” is understandable for those who live mostly in the ivory towers of writing. If total believability was the criterion for every movie, very few would be made. She next calls Samantha Mathis – the “Dagny” character” – “wan”, meaning “pale” or “exhausted”... or perhaps “weak”. I would like to see Ms. Dargis try to operate a rail line company, rather than a computer word processing program and an email system. She said that “Dagny” “worryingly keeps tabs”. Hey, it’s her fricken job. “Dagny”’s brother “James” is said to be a “weak sister of a brother”. Does this mean she thinks that he’s gay, or just effeminate? Of course, “Dagny” “frets” over things. Once again, her job with lots of OTHER jobs on the line.

Phrases such as “borderline amateurish”, “looks like digital”, “the kind of flat, undifferentiated network-television lighting”, and “chintzy-looking sets and costumes” are pure cattiness, by which I mean “deliberately hurtful” or spiteful”.

Ms. Dargis says that the movie was made for “true believers”. Well, I’m sure that it’s difficult for her to enjoy anything about this movie, if she has such hatred for the author and the subject. To be completely honest, Ms. Dargis did like the “relief from this chatter” [she may have been busy writing her critique in her head rather than watch the movie] through cameos. So at least something was a plus for her, even though it was an “anti-union movie”. Not, of course: it was anti-forced-union/violence.

It’s quite fashionable to say, “I hate capitalism”, but not “I hate freedom”, especially when one has only the foggiest idea of what capitalism is. If Ms. Dargis wanted a better understanding, she should read Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Murray N. Rothbard, and ... but I doubt that she could “stomach” it, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”.

Remember this: it’s in the NY Times, where their new slogan could be “All the Views That’re Fit to Put on the Spit” [to burn].

Roger A. Ritthaler

December 9, 2014

[Previously posted here.]

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